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28 May, 2024 10:54

Spain formally recognizes Palestine

Israel has blasted the move, which was first announced last week in coordination with Norway and Ireland
Spain formally recognizes Palestine

The Spanish government officially recognized Palestinian statehood during a meeting on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares has announced.

The diplomatic move comes at a time of intense fighting in Gaza, as Israel continues its ground operation in the border city of Rafah. 

Madrid revealed its intention to recognize Palestine last week in a coordinated action with Norway and the Republic of Ireland. Israel has accused the three European nations of encouraging terrorism.

Earlier on Tuesday, speaking ahead of the formal recognition announcement, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez stressed that the decision was not an attack on Israel, but a matter of historic justice, the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and a precondition for peace in the Middle East.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has accused Spain of “being complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes” over its diplomatic stance. He said his government will not allow the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem to provide services to Palestinians.

On Monday, the Jewish state accused the Spanish government of using “inciting and anti-Semetic statements,” referring to officials using the slogan “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free”.

Norway and Ireland’s formal recognition of Palestine as a state also took effect on Tuesday.

Israel has seen a steady decline in Western support in recent weeks, due to the mounting death toll resulting from the IDF offensive in Gaza, which is controlled by the militant group Hamas.

Critics say the Israeli response to the deadly raid launched by Hamas last October has inflicted disproportionate harm on civilians, and may have the goal of ethnic cleansing rather than countering terrorism, as claimed by the Israeli government.

Western countries that favour Palestinian statehood have thrown their support behind the Palestinian Authority, which is internationally considered the representative of the Palestinian people, but is a rival of Hamas and only controls parts of the West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed not to allow the creation of a fully functional Palestinian state. He also defied foreign concerns over the operation in Rafah, including an injunction issued by the UN’s International Court of Justice last Friday, which ordered Israel to suspend its offensive in the city. The Israeli government claims that its ground operation is necessary to eliminate Hamas.